Roma surrounds a maid named Cleo as she works for a rich family having marital problems and we journey with her on her day to day experiences.
The awards hype has been through the roof with this film and deservedly so. The film is shot beautifully in black and white by Alfonso Cuarón, who is also the director of the film. It’s a very intimate film and Yalitza Aparicio is outstanding as Cleo.
However, this film is a definite slow burn and the first half of the film is a bit meandering. Nothing major happens in the first half of the film, but the second half has more plot and will break your heart. This is a very personal film for Cuarón, dedicated to the maid who cared for him during childhood. Taking place in Mexico in the 1970s, the film also is a back drop for the student riots, though it doesn’t delve into this event as much as I’d like.
Cleo has a very sweet relationship with the family she works for, though she is at times treated a bit unfairly. The mother, Sofia, is also played well by Marina de Tavira, she convincingly portrays a woman whose life is suddenly falling apart and is desperately not trying to fall into a pit of despair. Again, the film is shot beautifully with many long wide shots that encompassed the setting, things like the laundry hanging up, dog poop in the drive way, street vendors, the harsh ocean waves, and soldiers marching down the streets.
Overall, Roma is a beautifully intimate look into the life of a maid. It’s a quiet film with a slow pace and doesn’t have many dramatic beats, but when it does, they are hard hitting.